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Publisher's Summary

Austria, 1944. Jakob, a gypsy boy - half Roma, half Yenish - runs for his life as he has been told to do. With shoes made of sack cloth - stained with another person's blood - and a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other, he runs blindly, full of fear and nearly drained of hope.  

He knows when to trust a stranger and when to be wary. He knows how to read the land and the sky - when to seek shelter, when not to. He has grown up following the wind and sticking to the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is new. He has never, until now, been so alone.  

Weaving back and forth in time and place between WWII Austria, Switzerland, and 1920s England to tell the interlinked stories of Jakob, an 8-year-old gypsy boy, his father Yavy, and his English mother Lor, Jakob's Colors is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope when there is no hope and color where there is no color.  

©2016 Lindsay Hawdon (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"A haunting book, dealing with a little-known part of history, told in luminous and poetic prose." (Rebecca Mascull, author of The Visitors)

"An impressive, heartfelt debut - a book about the power of stories to sustain us and drive us forward. It reminded me of Patrick Süskind's Perfume, but with colors in place of scents." (Aly Monroe, author of the Ellis Peters Historical award-winner Icelight)

"A stirring, finely observed tale that recalls the less fantastical parts of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief and deserves its place alongside other notable Holocaust stories." (Library Journal)

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Disappointed

This could have been a very good historical fiction novel. Its subject matter has been written very little about. But I feel like the author overly described everything in the book. She droned on and on...adjectives and adverbs all over the place. I sometimes found myself forgetting where we were in the story line because she was spending so many words making me understand exactly what the air smelled like and every little thing every single character in the book was thinking and feeling. I also felt like there were too many time lines and characters. It became confusing at times. The narrator was all wrong for this book. The way she did Jakob's voice just made me picture a little boy with big pouty lips. With all the horrors he had endured, I see him less of an innocent, unknowing child, and more of a child whose innocence was stolen who has had to harden himself a bit to survive. She also made Yavy sound like a 60 year old man when he was 18 or 19.
This book was a disappointment for me. In my opinion, had she focused more on the story and less on painting a vibrant picture, it would have been outstanding.